Fears over the future of gap between town and village

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THE green gap between a town and a village is set to get smaller after councillors voted to approve 55 homes.

Members of Havant’s planning committee voted to approve plans for Linden Homes to build a development north of Bartons Road, between Havant and Rowlands Castle.

The development would mean three protected oak trees will have to be chopped down.

But the committee was told the development might not be viable if the trees were not taken down.

Marge Harvey, councillor for Rowlands Castle, pleaded with the committee to refuse the application.

She is worried because some of the land in the vicinity is owned by Portsmouth City Council.

She said: ‘If we breach the gap, Portsmouth has not got any land to build on.

‘I think this would be a precedent.’

She compared the development to ‘urban sprawl’.

Jeremy Heppell, the agent for Linden Homes, said: ‘There’s not been a single objection from any local resident.

‘This is an ideal site to deliver housing for the borough.’

He said there were storage tanks to stop flooding.

Councillor David Keast, who sits on the committee, was angry that protected trees would be felled.

He said: ‘It makes the whole thing a waste of time and a bit of a joke.

‘Why protect trees so you can take them down?’

He added: ‘We are in support of building houses – but not at any cost.’

Cllr Paul Buckley said he was never normally in support of taking down trees, but said new residents would not thank the council for the possible problems of having a large oak tree in their garden.

Cllr David Guest said the development was within the council’s agreed local plan – approved by the government – and therefore had to be supported.

The development still has one final hurdle to get through before being approved. Part of the land lies in East Hampshire and councillors will make a decision next Thursday. The authority has already earmarked the land for potential development.